Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: christie-completion
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-02-13 17:13
A fun Christie article

I haven't read Lucy Foley's newest book that is referenced in this Crime Reads article, but I thought that my fellow Agathytes would enjoy this:


The Profoundly Unsettling World of Agatha Christie


She makes a lot of the points that we have, over here, been periodically making in our posts - and I agree with much of what she says, including her nod to the way in which Christie allows her female characters (murderers and victims alike) to present the entire spectrum of villainy, from the banality of a woman who kills her long standing employer with a hatchet because she needs a bit of capital to open a tea shop to a woman who shoots her husband because she can no longer deal with his emotional distance and his constant philandering, to a woman who is murdered because her extreme abusiveness has finally pushed one member of her family too far.


I also agree that most of Christie's mysteries only superficially resemble the "cozy" mystery. There is nothing cozy about the Lee family, even if we do spend Christmas with them, or the love triangles that she creates in Death on the Nile or Evil Under The Sun, where treachery and manipulation are the orders of the day. Neither families nor lovers are for the faint of heart in Agatha Christie's world.


I love the fact that Agatha is having a moment, as they say. And, even if the newer adaptations are not as faithful to the source material as we, the Agathytes (I've just coined this appellation, a corruption of acolytes, because I think we need a name, and it amuses me), hopefully the adaptations will introduce new generations of people to her books as readers. 


As it turned out, I had read The Sleeping Murder. So, I've been down to one mystery for a while now. I'm filled with a weird sense of elation and sadness at the prospect of being done. Fortunately, there are always rereads. I've concluded, at this point, that in many ways, one should always reread Agatha, because there is more in the telling than is accessible on the first read. The first read is about the puzzle; the subsequent reads are about the people.


Here's the thing - the people who believe that Agatha Christie was *just* a mystery novelist, even if they agree that she was the best mystery novelist of all time, they are, in part, missing the point. She didn't just write mysteries - she wrote humanity through the prism of violence. And she did it with aplomb and a fresh appeal that continues to exist, even after all of these years. It was a remarkable achievement that I, 65 books in, have just begun to discover and understand.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-02-13 04:03
Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 304 pages.
Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple) - Agatha Christie




"Saltmarsh House was set pleasantly about six miles inland from the coast. It had a good train service to London from the five-miles-distant town of South Benham.


Giles and Gwenda were shown into a large airy sitting room with cretonne covers patterned with flowers. A very charming-looking old lady with white hair came into the room holding a glass of milk. She nodded to them and sat down near the fireplace. Her eyes rested thoughtfully on Gwenda and presently she leaned forward towards her and spoke in what was almost a whisper.


“Is it your poor child, my dear?”


Gwenda looked slightly taken aback. She said doubtfully: “No—no. It isn’t.”


“Ah, I wondered.” The old lady nodded her head and sipped her milk. Then she said conversationally, “Half past ten—that’s the time. It’s always at half past ten. Most remarkable.” She lowered her voice and leaned forward again.


“Behind the fireplace,” she breathed. “But don’t say I told you.”

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-02-11 00:57
A quick buddy read!
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? - Agatha Christie

As I've mentioned, I have only 2 Christie mysteries left to read: Sleeping Murder and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?.


BrokenTune and I are going to buddy read my last hurrah! I will be reading Sleeping Murder sometime this week, and we are planning to read Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, aka The Boomerang Clue, in two weeks - not next weekend, but the weekend after - Saturday 2/23.


Join in the fun if you are interested!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-10 16:24
The Peacock Struts
Third Girl (Hercule Poirot, #35) - Agatha Christie

I actually did enjoy this one more the second time around, although I maintain that the puzzle aspect of the book is just not good. Before I get to that, though, I want to talk about what I liked.


Ariadne Oliver is very prominent in this book, as is Miss Lemon, which were the two things that I just loved about it. Miss Lemon isn't as prominent here as she is in Hickory Dickory Dock, but we get a fairly sustained appearance. And Mrs. Oliver is actually assaulted as part of this investigation as she is blood-hounding about after The Peacock. 


This reread has solidified for me how much I love Christie's young(er) women. Every time I read one of her books, I find a side character that just fills me with delight. Hastings is actually one of my least favorite sidekicks, and Mrs. Oliver is absolutely my most favorite. Any book where Ariadne Oliver shows up - even if she's just mentioned - makes me smile. I even liked Norma Restarick, the putative victim, who grew on me throughout the course of this book.


I will say that the book IS better than the adaptation, which keeps the same murderer but not all of the murders. The best thing about the adaptation is Tom Mison as David Baker, aka The Peacock. He comes off much better in the adaptation than in the book, where he has no redeeming value.



This is also Poirot (and Agatha) at his most cerebral. Not quite so much as The Clocks, perhaps, but by this time in the series, Poirot is quite elderly (the timeline for Poirot is problematic, to put it as charitably as possible) since this book occurs during the swinging sixties. While he has slowed down physically, the little grey cells are still as clever as ever.


Which brings me to the primary weaknesses of the book - it just isn't plausible. The actual motive behind the murder is clever, and works well, but (and here I will venture into spoiler territory, so click the spoiler warning at your own risk)



it's obvious that Agatha is an elderly woman surrounded by other elderly people, because the central conceit that someone has been drugging Norma Restarick with a sophisticated cocktail of uppers and downers to make her lose time and believe that she's committed a murder just doesn't work. Her pharmaceutical skills, as helpful as they were at the beginning of her career, simply failed her here. This book reads like an old woman worried about "druggies" wrote it - because one did. If someone tried this in reality, Norma would've died of an overdose.


In addition, the idea that Norma Restarick, even drugged, could have actually lived with her step-mother in disguise is just preposterous, and no amount of suspension of disbelief can change that fact. I don't care if she was freaking Meryl Streep, if Meryl Streep moved into my house pretending to be my mother, I would notice that she's not my mom. This was silly. It was implausible in the way that Murder in Mesopotamia is implausible, and that implausibility diminishes the mystery.

(spoiler show)



Basically, if I don't read this one for the mystery, but read it for the interactions between the characters and the opportunity to spend time with a clever, elderly Hercule Poirot, I really enjoy it. The plot though, eh. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-02-09 19:45
Impending Christie Re-reads
Third Girl (Hercule Poirot, #35) - Agatha Christie
Elephants can Remember - Agatha Christie
The Hollow - Agatha Christie
The Sittaford Mystery - Agatha Christie
Murder is Easy - Agatha Christie

Along with Sleeping Murder and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, I will be re-reading this collection of Christie mysteries. The Sittaford Mystery is especially appropriate, since I am snowed in today.


I am excited to revisit them!

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?